Lecturer revisits controversial FDR decision

first_imgLisa Phillips, associate professor of history at Indiana State University, gave a historical account of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wartime takeover of retail store Montgomery Ward, as part of the Higgins Lunchtime Labor Research, Advocacy & Policy series in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune Student Center on Friday.Many of FDR’s New Deal initiatives curbed the power of corporations, which Phillips said partially led to the stock market crash of the 1920’s. This check against big business created tension between corporations and government, especially after World War II.Leading an anti-regulatory effort against FDR’s policies was Sewell Avery, then chairman of Montgomery Ward, Phillips said.“What we’ll see after the war is a huge pro-business attack on New Deal regulation,” she said. “I think Sewell Avery represents the first line of that pro-business crusade against this New Deal regulation.”Avery’s refusal to acknowledge union representation for thousands of Montgomery Ward’s employees drew the ire of FDR, who Phillips said had supported union growth throughout his presidency.“What Sewell Avery was protesting here was not only abiding by the War Labor Board’s recommendations, but he also simply didn’t want to recognize the union representing Montgomery Ward’s employees,” she said. “He was refusing the union’s existence at all.”Avery’s resistance to employee unionization and his further refusal to cooperate with FDR’s administration led to his forceful removal from Montgomery Ward, Phillips said.“FDR’s logic here is that we need to have stability in the industry, and whoever is causing the instability … [must be removed],” she said. “In this case, FDR orders the U.S. Army to remove Sewell Avery physically and take over the operations of Montgomery Ward.”Phillips said FDR had enough presidential influence and there was enough disapproval of big business to justify such extreme measures.“The reason that FDR decides to do this is because it’s war time,” she said. “FDR had enough power, and there was enough public outcry to generate this regulatory machinery.”FDR’s decision to exert presidential power through Sewell Avery’s removal from office demonstrated his fear of business interference with regulatory policies, Phillips said.“[FDR] feels that if Avery defies what the National War Labor Board’s recommendations are, then every other business owner will become emboldened as well,” she said.Despite the president’s strong message, Phillips said business owners nevertheless began to express their dissatisfaction.“They can’t run the business in a way they see fit,” she said. “They have to adhere to what the union says, and they have to agree to what the government is telling them to do in terms of regulating the conditions of wages and work.”Phillips said businessmen challenged FDR’s New Deal policies by launching public campaigns and lobbying efforts.“Part of what the business community was doing was to convince the American public that business was the epitome of American democracy in that it needed to spread worldwide,” she said. “[The business community] literally took on an ad campaign through advertising to convey this particular message.“Campaign finance reform, taxes, tax structure, all of these things, I think, were bolstered through these networks of businessmen.”Tags: FDR, Higgins Lunchtime Labor RAPS, Montgomery Ward, New Deal, Sewell Averylast_img read more

Astra International’s profit plunges 44% in H1 as pandemic batters auto business

first_imgThe automotive industry has been among the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic as customers stay at home to help curb the spread of COVID-19. National car sales fell 46 percent annually in the first half to just 260,933 units, according to Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) data compiled by Astra.Car wholesales nosedived in April and hit rock bottom in May with a more than 95 percent annual drop before rebounding in June, the data shows.  “Surely, the outlook for the automotive industry is quite challenging as consumer confidence is still quite weak and auto financing has yet to recover,” BNI Sekuritas head of equity research Kim Kwie Sjamsudin told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.He noted that those two sectors accounted for a big chunk of the company’s business. Read also: Gold price surge blessing in disguise for IndonesiaThe company’s financial services segment saw its net profit decrease by 25 percent yoy to Rp 2.1 trillion as a result of the increase in provisions set aside to cover the losses from a growing number of bad loans in consumer and heavy equipment financing, the company reported. In May this year, Astra International sold its entire shares in Bank Permata, worth around Rp 16.83 trillion, to Bangkok Bank. From the sales, Astra made Rp 5.88 trillion in net profit, higher than the profit it booked from its business operations alone. Astra also reported that its heavy machinery, mining, construction and energy segment had generated Rp 2.37 trillion in net profit, making it the biggest contributor to the company’s total net profit, despite seeing a 29 percent annual decline in revenue due to lower sales and contract volume, driven by weaker coal prices. The agribusiness segment also experienced a rise in net profit, increasing a staggering 791 percent from Rp 35 billion to Rp 312 billion in the first half as a result of rising crude palm oil (CPO) prices, especially during the year’s first quarter. Average CPO prices increased by 26 percent yoy to Rp 8,109 per kilogram in the first half, the company said. “Most probably, Astra International will pin its hopes on the agribusiness segment and its gold mines going forward,” Jasa Utama Capital analyst Chris Apriliony said on Wednesday. The rise in the two business lines, he added, would be driven by higher CPO and global gold prices, which could cushion the adverse impact faced by its other cooling businesses. Read also: Automakers rev up discounts to beat coronavirus sales bluesKim of BNI Sekuritas, on the other hand, noted that the commodity sector was highly-dependent on global economic activities and with the easing of global lockdown, things would start to move northward.“We expect the second quarter of 2020 to be the bottom, earnings-wise,” he said. Astra’s shares, traded at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) with the code ASII, jumped by almost 1 percent as of 12:58 p.m. Jakarta time on Thursday while the main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), gained 0.25 percent.Its stocks have lost almost 26 percent of its value so far this year versus an 18.66 percent loss recorded by the JCI. Astra Group, which has over 230 subsidiaries working under seven business segments, namely automotive, financial services, agribusiness, property, infrastructure and logistics, information technology and heavy equipment, mining, construction and energy, has reported a decrease in almost all of the business sectors it operates in. However, its automotive business was the hardest hit.  Read also: Light at end of tunnel for auto industry as June car sales rebound: ExpertsNet profit in the company’s automotive segment crashed 79 percent yoy to Rp 716 billion because of a fall in sales volume in the second quarter of the year. The business segment went from being the biggest contributor to net profit in June last year to its third-largest contributor.Astra’s car sales fell by 45 percent during the first half of the year to 139,500 units. In the second quarter alone, sales fell 92 percent against the previous quarter. Honda Astra’s motorcycle sales, meanwhile, fell 40 percent to 1.5 million units in the first half and 80 percent quarter-on-quarter (qoq). Topics :center_img Diversified conglomerate PT Astra International has reported a drop in revenue and net profit in the first half of the year, largely because of the pandemic’s major impacts on the automotive industry and commodity prices.The company’s revenue has fallen by 23 percent year-on-year (yoy) to Rp 89.8 trillion (US$6.19 billion) as of June 30. Its net profit, excluding revenue from the sale of Bank Permata shares, nosedived 44 percent yoy to Rp 5.5 trillion. “Countermeasures against the pandemic implemented in most regions in Indonesia, including the temporary closedown of manufacturing activities and automotive distribution, have impacted the group’s operations substantially,” Astra president director Djony Bunarto Tjondro said in a press statement on Wednesday. last_img read more

Begovic ready for Blues challenge

first_imgAsmir Begovic believes he will develop as a goalkeeper after swapping Stoke for Chelsea. Press Association But Begovic, who will wear the number one jersey at Stamford Bridge, insists he will not be purely making up the numbers in Jose Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge regime as he now prepares to join up with his new team-mates ahead of their pre-season tour to the United States. “I am very happy to be joining Chelsea FC,” Begovic told the club’s official website. “After speaking at length to the manager, I feel like I can develop here and be an important part of this team. I am looking forward to meeting up with the team on Wednesday for the pre-season tour.’ Begovic also issued a statement via social media thanking everyone at Stoke for his five years with the club and is ready to challenge himself with the champions. ” I have loved my time at Stoke, but feel I had to take this opportunity for me to continue to develop and challenge myself as a player,” he said. “I am very proud of what we have achieved during my time at Stoke, and it has been a great team of players to work with. I wish you all the best for the season ahead.” Stoke, who signed experienced goalkeeper Shay Given last week, also have England international Jack Butland as an option to replace Begovic, with manager Hughes also bringing in Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel on loan. Capped 41 times by Bosnia, Begovic, who scored for Stoke against Southampton in 2013, has the experience and Premier League knowhow to challenge Courtois for the goalkeeping berth in Mourinho’s side. He replaces Cech, who left the Blues for London rivals Arsenal, and is the second summer arrival at Stamford Bridge following the loan signing of Monaco forward Radamel Falcao. center_img The 28-year-old has penned a four-year deal with the Premier League champions having been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge for much of the summer after Petr Cech departed for Arsenal. The Bosnian established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper at the Britannia Stadium after joining from Portsmouth in 2010 but a move to Chelsea – where he will face a fight to displace the highly-rated Thibaut Courtois – could be seen by some as a strange decision. last_img read more